Transformational Leadership is the “magic wand”:


This post I dedicate to Aisara (yessenova) and those who answered “Yes”, “No” or “Don’t know” =)))

After receiving several comments about my “comment”, I have decided to follow all your advice and to transform it into a post.

As far as you all remember (or maybe do not remember), I pointed out that in Educational leadership it is very important to know about the style that the leader uses. According to Aisara’s description (Post about “A Businessman and a aschool leader: the new concept of school leadership in the USA”), I came into conclusion that the style of that businessman was Transformational Leadership (for more information, please, go and read Aisara’s post). Now, I will explain you this notion in more details:

Transformational Leader is motivated by his/her followers, and followers are motivated by their leader who uses their ideas and skills to create something valuable for all the members of these reciprocal relationships (Dems, K., 2011). Famous examples of this type of leaders are Martin Luther King Jr. and Walt Disney.

This kind of leadership is believed to be the most effective one owing to the fact that this model creates an enthusiastic work environment and drives its members to a better future. High productivity is guaranteed in this case. One of the positive sides of this type is that the leader creates learning opportunities for his/her followers stimulating them to solve problems. Moreover, in that way, the leader who forms new expectations is able to develop future leaders from his/her followers who then will continue to share their vision of success. That is what this entrepreneur did – he established the Broad Center to bring up a new generation of leaders. What I wanted to say by this is that maybe the style of his leadership played a significant role in the success of this Broad Center? Who knows?

Not everything depends on the style of leadership, of course. The chosen style can serve as a good foundation for further development of educational system of a country or a center (in our case). However, the historical background, social, economical and political conditions of the country where one or another style of leadership will be implemented can become impediments to positive changes. That is why I think the Broad Center succeeded – it was built in the USA. Kazakhstan is a different country. Let me be more specific…

  • As far as you know, Kazakhstan is a very young country that gained its independence in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. During these 24 years Kazakhstan went through substantial changes in social, economical and political spheres which brought several alterations in its educational system. Soviet Education aimed to form a communist society where all citizens had an equal status. Communism had taught people that religious was the “opium of the masses” (Marx, 1867). In that way atheism emerged. Ideology stated that collective needs came first, excluding any individual needs. People were supposed to be free, but in fact, the government’s total control meant that freedom was the one thing that people lost. Education was also strictly controlled by the state. In 1932, a rigid program of education was introduced where books were censored and children were expected to join youth organizations that propagated government ideology (Yakavets, 2013). These organizations were established in order to bring up loyal party members among youngsters. Government used schools as an important instrument for promoting policies of the Soviet leadership – Indoctrination (Ross, 1960).
  • Money did not play a significant role in these relationships. However, the economical conditions left much to be desired. Obvious problems with food, housing and shortages in all spheres of life remained to be great problems of that time.In spite of all these, Soviet education brought some positive changes: education was free of charge; girls were also allowed to attend classes on equal ranks with boys (which was almost impossible for any eastern country); a well-developed infrastructure for educational provision, and the quality of education was high.After 1991 soviet budgeting was cut and schools left without any financial support. Kazakhstan decided to bring some changes in educational expectations. A turning point was shift from command to market economics (Bridges, 2014). This was widely seen as having important implications for the education system: education became a privilege of rich people; private sector appeared which led to the phenomenon of privatization of education, etc. Now money play significant role in all spheres of modern life. Social structure of communism was replaced by democracy where citizens of the country have voices in decision making. Democracy is also about equal status of people but there the needs of a society are essential for every individual and visa versa; individual needs are valuable for the whole society. However, the attempts to change the political structure were unrewarded by success.

Kazakhstan is a developing country which tries to re-establish its own educational system on the basis of international experience in order to match the needs of globalization (NUGSE Student Handbook, 2014-2015). However, the historical background of Kazakhstan shows that the country is not ready to implement the notion of leadership.

The system still operates in soviet lines.

Current school policies are based on soviet practice where educational leaders are perceived as administrators rather than systematic reformers.

Bureaucracy is still one of the greatest drawbacks that Kazakhstan faces with.

The mentality of Kazakhstani people needs to be challenged, so that communities will realize the need for transformation from managers to visionary leaders who are open to changes and innovations. The first steps toward this direction have already been taken. The government established Decentralization reform in order to overcome this obstacle. One of the breakthroughs was the establishment of Nazarbayev University which is considered to become the leading world-class university in Kazakhstan. As a consequence, this university took risk to open a graduate program on Educational Leadership. We, students of this program are like seeds on fertile soil. Graduate School of Education can provide this ground for learners who single-heartedly sacrifice themselves to the educational development of Kazakhstan. GSE aims to bring up a new generation of leaders who have a sophisticated understanding of how to challenge the postulates of this promising but slowly changing world successfully implementing knowledge and background that we will gain during this experience. We are studying in an enthusiastic atmosphere which is created by best experts who are willing to share with their experience being real examples of transformational leadership for us.

Aisara, you asked a question: “Maybe the concept of the school leader as the CEO will not work for Kazakhstan?” I do really believe that someday all of us will be the witnesses of this concept realization, and I am sure that we would be proud of the fact that we were the part of this success!!!
Good luck to all of us! =)))


Bridges, D. (2014). Educational Reform and Internationalization: The Case of School Reform in Kazakhstan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Marx, K. (1867). Capital. New York: Knopf Doubleday.
NUGSE Student Handbook, (2014-2015). Nazarbayev University, 25(1), 5-6.
Ross, L. (1960). Some aspects of soviet education. The Journal of Teacher Education, 11(4), 22-31.
Yakavets, N. (2013). Drivers of innovations in schools in Kazakhstan: a critical element of leadership, presented as part of the symposium ‘Educational Reform in Kazakhstan from the School Perspective’ European Educational Research Association (EERA) Annual Conference, 10-13 September, Istanbul, Turkey.

2 thoughts on “Transformational Leadership is the “magic wand”:

  1. Thank you Aliya, for such valuable information about the leadership!!!=)) I liked your post and really appreciate the information you shared, especially the point that transformational leader is inspired by his followers.
    BUT, the way you address the post to your audience seems quite strange for me, like: if you are not Aisara, keep going to read other posts that is not for you=))
    Nothing personal, but the last your sentence really kills me:
    I do really believe that someday you and me (you mean Aisara) will be the witnesses of this concept realization, and I am sure that we would be proud of the fact that we were the part of this success!!!

    Let it be so, but I ‘ve got one question to you:
    Do you hold the opinion that the more knowledgeable you are, the better leader you are?
    Are you inspired by people, who you think are less knowledgeable than you? And how do you show that? Do you think that transformational leader is a “problem-solver” of the challenges we face with the system of education in our daily lives?

    In general, seems to be interesting and useful.
    ps. Kamedenova


    1. Dear Mariyam,

      I am so pleased with your comment =))) Even if there is some critique toward my “address to the audience”, I do really appreciate the opinion of every single reader ❤

      To tell the truth, sometimes I think that this post (previously – comment) does not have any right to exist. Since the time it has appeared, I received many negative comments about the way I write, the techniques I use, the words I choose, etc… Those are the reasons why I want to delete it. But, I do not do this only because I have realized that all these inspire me to make my writing (even if a little bit) better =)))

      I will follow your advice and change the tone to a more neutral one. Thank you for mentioning this "weak point") Even if I lose, I do not lose the lesson)

      As for your question… I do strongly believe that knowledge can equip (empower) us with necessary skills that definitely affect our Leadership style. As Kazakh people say: "Learning is the eye of mind". In my opinion, a good leader should always be knowledgeable and, of course, one step ahead. However, everything will depend on a concrete situation. Nothing is predictable in such cases…

      Let's look at the whole problem from the realistic point of view, not everything depends on the knowledge the leader possesses. Sometimes, his or her attitudes toward the followers can play a much more significant role in building this relationship; or sometimes a person can be less knowledgeable, but his or her charisma charms the followers attracting or even conquering them.

      Transformational Leadership is not a "magic wand" for all problems, it is a compass which shows the right direction. My mission in this post was to equip you (readers) with this "knowledge", but "how to use it" still remains to be your own decision =)))

      Mariyam, this is only the beginning of our journey =))) Good luck to all of us…

      Liked by 1 person

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